Derek Productions remedies use of Aboriginal art in Netflix series After Life

October 29, 2019

The British company, Derek Productions, will pay compensation for using an unauthorised copy of a painting by the Aboriginal artist Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri in the first series of After Life, starring Ricky Gervais, on Netflix earlier this year.

The company has also agreed to pay a fee for the use of the Papunya Tula artist’s copyright-protected work going forward.

Copyright Agency, which manages the copyright interests of the artist overseas, facilitated the licensing arrangement for the artwork, Tingarri Dreaming, which features prominently in the series on the main character’s living room wall.

CEO of the Copyright Agency, Adam Suckling, says “The production company was very open to working with us to rectify the situation, agreeing to secure a retrospective licence for the first series and licensing a reproduction of an authorised copy for the second series, which recently wrapped filming and will be released in 2020.”

Tingarri Dreaming is part of the Castan donation held in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria which has supplied a high-resolution photograph of the original work for the creation of the authorised copy, facilitated through the artist’s local copyright representative Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd.

Paul Sweeney of Papunya Tula Artists says, “We are pleased that this outcome has been negotiated for one of our best-known Western Desert artists Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri. It’s important that his work and the work of all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists is acknowledged and respected.” Read more.

The Copyright Agency works on behalf of visual artists to put in place licensing solutions which return royalties to artists and ensure their works are treated with appropriate respect.

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Tingarri Dreaming, 1987 © Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri/Copyright Agency, 2019. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria.

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Jane Morey
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About the Copyright Agency

The not-for-profit Copyright Agency connects users and creators of content, providing licences for the use of copyright material such as text, images, art and survey plans. We manage the educational and government licences for the use of text and images, as well as the resale royalty scheme for artists (by Government appointment). Our members include writers, artists, surveyors and publishers. Membership is free.

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